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Aster's avatar

Do foster homes deserve their bad reputations?

Asked by Aster (18313points) October 15th, 2010

I never hear a good thing about foster homes. Does anyone have any experience knowing anything about them as to foster parents, abuse, loving care, etc?

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15 Answers

Coloma's avatar

I have no experience but it does seem to be an area that attracts a lot of unhappy and negative experience for those in the system.

I am sure plenty of well meaning, kind and decent people care for foster kids, but, in my opinion it is on the same level as a lot of staff at nursing homes. Seems to attract a lot of less than desirable types for whatever reasons.

I do think there is certainly a monetary factor and some people just see the $ signs adding up when ‘counting’ children as nothing more than a meal ticket for themselves.

Our elderly and children are often left in the care of incompetent hands. sadly. :-(

MeinTeil's avatar

Only by the hopelessly dysfunctional “guest” staying there.

Aster's avatar

GA Coloma.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

Without going into all the details, there’s a little girl in my life who just came out of a foster home due to horrible decisions her mother made. The woman who was taking care of her not only stole money that was strictly to be used for the little girl, she also never fed her breakfast, took all of her new clothes and toys – that were birthday gifts sent to the little girl from people she knew – to give them to her biological children, and now the little girl literally believes that “The devil is inside of me. I try to be good, but I can’t because of the devil”. The woman also showed the little girl newspaper clippings from the case (the media was all over the story and why the little girl was taken away in the first place), and told her specific details about it – which stood the chance of not only damaging the entire case itself, but also added to the psychological trauma the little girl had already gone through.

They definitely deserve bad reputations. I know of a lot of children being treated horribly in foster homes. Not all foster parents deserve a bad rep, obviously… But a whole hell of a lot of them do.

seazen's avatar

Do they?

laureth's avatar

I was in a foster home for a number of months when I was a kid. It sounds like I must have gotten one of the good ones. They were empty-nesters who decided to take in some kids, I guess. Mostly, what I remember is their big sandbox and even bigger garden. My foster mom and I would garden a lot, and I love gardening to this day. It was truly a better place than the juvenile home where I was staying when the court ordered me into foster care.

Like I said, I might be the lucky kid, or maybe things have changed since the 70s, but I did OK.

Cupcake's avatar

I personally know people who are fabulous foster parents. I also know people who are not that great. I don’t know any horror stories first hand… but I know that they exist.

I think it is unfortunate that people would go into foster parenting for the money. It’s a difficult job that not just anyone can do.

john65pennington's avatar

Foster care from different foster homes varies like the wind. i have answered calls to foster homes, where the living conditions were deplorable. i have answered calls to foster homes, where the living conditions were ideal for the children. one foster home was so unbelievable that i called Childrens Services to have the children removed and arrested the foster parents. another foster home was well-maintained and the girls seem to be very happy there. each girl had a story to tell.

Like i said, foster care varies like the wind.

rooeytoo's avatar

Is there anything in this entire world that is all bad or all good? Foster care is the same, many are wonderful caring situations often with very maladjusted difficult childrenn but there are also really sick people out there who should not be allowed near a kid. I can’t figure out why there is not a better way of screening potential foster parents. I think part of the problem is that there is a desperate shortage of foster parents so many borderline types are accepted into the program. It is true also that the ones that end up in the news are usually the untenable ones such as @john65pennington referenced.

Scarlett's avatar

My ex boyfriend came from a foster home and his foster parents were very abusive to him.

He then ran away when he was 10 and was in and out of juvenile hall until 19…....

MissAusten's avatar

You only hear about bad foster parents just like you only hear about bad daycare centers or bad nursing homes. People who are doing a good job are not newsworthy.

That being said, I’d rather take my chance with a nursing home or a daycare center than foster care. You can choose a daycare or nursing home after visiting many places, getting references, interviewing staff, etc. A kid who ends up in foster care has no say in the situation. The parents have no say, obviously. In a system that is overwhelmed and flawed, it’s too easy for kids to fall through the cracks. I feel like it’s a toss up sometimes: abusive parents, or foster care. The foster care might be better, but it might be worse. :(

I know one family that takes in foster children, and I don’t know them well. Just enough to say hi when I run into them around town. The kids always seem happy and well-cared for. The foster parents are older and seem to be doing a wonderful job. I also used to work with a woman whose best friend was a foster parent. She sometimes had as many as four or five kids to care for, but she did a great job. She eventually adopted a little boy she’d cared for since he was an infant. It’s unlikely he would have been adopted otherwise, because he had a lot of emotional and behavioral challenges from the drugs his mother used while pregnant. So, there are cases out there where foster families are making a big difference for children. I’d like to be a foster parent once my own kids are older.

Likeradar's avatar

There are many, many excellent foster parents. I’ve known people who love their foster babies like their own and are kind, generous, and loving toward them. Like @MissAusten said, you generally only hear about the bad ones.
I think the main problem is that in many cities, family services are so totally overwhelmed. There simply isn’t enough manpower to do the needed checks to ensure the children are being taken care of properly and that foster parents are doing it for the right reasons.

skfinkel's avatar

Whenever money is involved in care, there is an opportunity for fraud. When I worked in state policy, I did research that showed that 80% of the families needing foster care was due to a lack of money. If we instead invested in the parents of these children, helping them financially, with houseing, health care, parent education, etc., we could eliminate much of the need for foster care in the first place. It would also be far less traumatic for the children. However, 20% of the children are in homes that are abusive or otherwise seriously non-functional, and for these children, having foster care homes is critical. However, if we don’t need so many foster homes, we can be far more selective, and place children in homes where we know they will receive only the most excellent care.

survivorsofcps's avatar

my foster parents abandoned me because I had trouble dealing with the abuse I suffered in the adoptive home I was place in. For that matter my real parents did not abuse me. I was stolen by CPS from her because she was disabled. For every 1 good foster home their are 2 bad ones.

Tinbobtina's avatar

I’ve been a foster carer for many years. I’ve not fallen in love with the children placed. I’ve always seen it as a professional job and I’ve always done my best to give the child what they’ve needed, bearing in mind that we have to follow guidelines. There is more training provided these days and more checks from social workers and more involvement with it her agencies. There’s always the divide with your own kids because they can do certain things whereas the foster children can’t. We need permissions, we get scrutinized by their parents who still have a say in things. Five yrs ago I took a little girl in permanently with us because she gelled with our family and even though we all have a strong caring connection with her, the rules are always there in the background and if we don’t comply we could lose our position. But as I say, I treat it as a job to keep all the family safe. The child lives living here. I have seen many carers who do it differently, every family is different whether they foster or not. I will never regret looking after any of these kids because I’ve always done my best.

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